Don’t Rush; You May Leave the Best Behind

Don't Rush; You May Leave the Best Behind

Don't Rush; You May Leave the Best Behind

Several months ago I went to the mountains to photograph splendor in all its raw beauty. Traveling the 395 north along the rugged Eastern Sierras during twilight’s changing phases placed me into a lingering state that normally would have been controlled by a rushed and eager mindset to get where I was going. We must have stopped a dozen times to catch the light just right, and most of those times were prompted by the view I visited in my rear-view mirror.

The beautiful light changed the environment minute by minute, unfolding a masterpiece in succession with the last. Because my purpose for being there was to specifically capture those mountains in photographic form, I did not rush on to our final destination. Instead, I chose to move mile by mile with my eyes open wide to everything around me, especially those places I had just left behind, visiting them once again in my rear-view mirror.

While attending a photographic gallery on this trip, I talked to a volunteer who showed us spectacular works of art captured through the lens of the great landscape photographer Galen Rowell. I was mesmerized by the beautiful images Galen shot through his career and learned that his success came through patience and the willingness to wait for the right light instead of rushing on. We were shown dozens of masterpieces, after which Steve the volunteer proceeded to unveil his favorite photograph in the gallery. It was an image that was first seen through the rear-view mirror after Galen had packed up all his gear and was driving away from the location. There in the Buttermilks (a rocky region just outside of Bishop, California) he saw it, an image that was shrouded in darkness from the blackened storm clouds that had rolled in. The ominous, darkened sky brought with it a threat of rain, which caused Galen to take cover and move on. So, as he was driving away a break in the clouds opened just enough to paint an area of the rock formations with beautiful golden light. Thank goodness Galen looked in his rear-view mirror at the right time and stopped to place his camera on the roof of his car, steadying it long enough to capture the perfect shot. He had visited that location many times before and many more after that day, never again to see the heavens unveil such a treasure as was given to him that stormy day. The above photo is of my view of the Buttermilks and the gift of light and shadow that I was blessed to see.

Why is it that we tend to forget that the journey is the most important part and that the destination should be there just as a marker to place us on our next adventure? Instead, too often we focus on the place we must get to, thinking that when we arrive we will find happiness and, in many cases, rest from our troubles. Yet the reality is that those places we rushed through to get where we were going were really destinations in themselves if we had stopped long enough to see them as such. By looking back at life we may find that many of those wonderful places we ventured through should have been handled in a state of pause rather than a rushed motion. The moment with a friend having a tough day, the child playing in the sand box, the parent wanting to talk to connect once again to your life, the dog begging for another game of tug-o-war, the child needing your time to help make cookies . . . Oh, how the list could go on. My list is long, but many more could have been attached to it if I hadn’t heard the words from a wise father-in-law years ago teaching me to “Never live life with regrets.” In that simple statement I have taken some””not most, but some””moments to pause, see, live and feel the joy that otherwise would been lost if I had rushed on through those moments. Remembering this, I will try to be more aware in looking behind, that I may recognize those moments worth the effort for pause that otherwise would pass without notice.

In Other’s Words:

“The best light is in my rearview mirror. Dang, I left too early!

Stick around and wait it out; after all, where do you have to go, right?”

~Steve Baldwin @ Mountain Light Gallery~

1 Comment

  1. I love this reminder, Elaine…and your photo is beautiful! I can imagine standing right there…

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